The Undoing Of The U.S.S.R.:
How It Happened
On December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a sovereign state. Its collapse was gradual and, some would say, even inevitable. Here are some major milestones in the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., which put 15 new countries on the map.
How Did It Start?
The Soviet Union was once the largest country in the world, covering more than 22 million square kilometers. It consisted of 15 Soviet socialist republics but was highly centralized for most of its history. Although the U.S.S.R.'s official language was Russian, more than 200 other languages and dialects were spoken, and it was home to more than 290 million people of various ethnicities.
According to some, the dissolution of the Soviet Union began when its last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, came to power and introduced reforms that were aimed at ensuring more democracy and economic prosperity. There were others, however, who also played a significant role in the last days of the U.S.S.R.
Timeline Of Events
These are some of the main events that gradually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. After Mikhail Gorbachev became leader in 1985, he introduced progressive reforms. He also presided over a détente in the U.S.S.R.'s relations with other countries and increasing democratization, which eventually saw the rule of the Communist Party come to an end.